Chunking a Class Block

I’ve been thinking a lot on how to plan for 90-minute blocks, every other day, with enough variety and activity to keep students engaged and the lesson compelling. Side note: Also need to take into account not wearing me out (as an introvert I need breaks to keep up my enthusiasm in public)

In the past, I usually broke class down into three parts: 1) Bell-Ringer/Do-Now, which lasted about 10-15 minutes; 2) A class translation/story/Picture or Movie Talk, which involved the most active (teacher and students) parts of class and lasted about 45 minutes; 3) Independent Work like worksheets, comprehension questions, partner work, etc and lasted about 30 minutes.

The random, though more activities more often as the year progressed, CI strategies I did this last year were confined to the middle of class. Side note: Which allowed me to “rest” between classes and meant that at the start of class when students are up, so was I.

I was okay (as the commercial asks, “just okay?”) with the plan, enough so I didn’t try and change or mess with it. Now, however, since I’m changing so much else in my approach, I’m looking to update how I chunk my classroom down into bite-size pieces of CI.

Recently, Tina Hargaden shared a template for planning class (in a Curriculum Picnic, one for 90 minute blocks was also shared) on the CI Liftoff Facebook group. After reading through it, though I think it was originally designed to be used with her new book coming out in July, Stepping Stones: Beyond Year One, I like the way she organizes each day. Using this template, here’s how I’m looking to shake things up, get my daily CI strategies organized, and plan out my lessons (whether year one, two or three…):

Norming the Class OR Reading Workshop
10 minutes

Norming the Class, to me, means the Bell-Ringer or Do Now. See my post here about Bell-Ringers. I’m still holding out hope for Duolingo in Latin to be ready for BETA release in September for use to review periodically and learn some Latin beyond what’s covered in class (I’m thinking once a week).

The Reading Workshop includes both Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) and Book Talks. I am looking to do FVR instead of the vocabulary review games for the second semester. In 2nd and 3rd year classes, we’ll start FVR in the third week of school. I am wary of doing Book Talks, basically a short book-report in Latin to get students interested in some of the books, but will probably attempt this a few times to see how it goes.

Along with FVR, every five days, as a class we’ll play Game of Quotes as a reward for reading. Students will get to share the best one-liners from their novella of choice to win… What? I’m still working that out.

Guided Oral Input #1
10-15 minutes

This is the part of class I am looking forward to the most. It is what I’m calling Small Talk. Small Talk includes the following activities, added upon or subtracted as necessary depending on how the day goes: Calendar Talk, What’s the weather like?, and What are you doing/did/will do? Because I’m planning to do this every day, and not just for things like Weekend Talk (Friday – what will you do? / Monday – what did you do?), I don’t plan to follow up with the Scaffolded Oral Review right away.

Brain Break
3 minutes

Guided Oral Input #2
10 minutes

For some days, I’m planning to follow-up the Small Talk each day with Personalized Questions and Answers (based on the day’s topic, unit, or theme). I have questions to ask the students and solicit answers, using these questions and answers to build an understanding of the new vocabulary and/or target structures through Circling techniques.

When not using Personalized Questions and Answers, I’m hoping to use Picture Talks to introduce new vocabulary/target structures, creating One Word Images, and/or a review of the previous day’s One Word Images or other illustrations by the students.

Scaffolded Oral Review
5-10 minutes

This is a new idea to me to plan out a “review” during class – I kinda wing-it whenever I do this in class, which is fairly often since I believe in informal assessments like having students yell out responses instead of raising hands and walking around to observe students. I like the following ideas for what to do in this space: a Q&A Game or Retell in L1. Additionally, depending on the day and activities used during the Guided Oral Input, I might utilize my unit MGMT packet (there are a lot of “packets” out there, but the original idea was Jon Cowart‘s and I pulled a lot of ideas for mine from Lance Piantaggini) during this time as well.

An idea I’m playing around with, in order to mix things up, which isn’t really a Scaffolded Oral Review, but might work time-wise for planning purposes instead of the Scaffolded Oral Review, is playing games with preposition cards. I’ve created little flashcards on prepositions which could be used for Screaming Ninjas, Charades, Cartoon Olympics, Smash Doodles, etc.

I believe in mixing things up. When some activities become routine, they lose their compelling nature and becoming breeding grounds for misbehavior. While a routine and expectation aren’t bad (more like gods-send)… change can be good.

Brain Break
2 minutes

Shared Writing OR Shared Reading
15-20 minutes

Some of the ideas I like for this time (most right now are writing based activities because I am still learning, reading, and researching about reading strategies): Picture Bingo, One Word at a Time, Choral Translations, Story Asking and Story Scripts, etc. Basically, this time is used to write or read in Latin as a class or in small groups.

Based on some of my rough-planning, I might be using this time for other activities not directly related to Writing or Reading strategies, just to keep the students involved and on their toes.

Break – Brain or Just Being
5 minutes

Student Application
10 minutes

I’m viewing this as “quiet” or “individual” time for my students to process the language they’ve been exposed to throughout the day. I like these ideas: Free/Timed Writes, Summary & Write, Illustrating Images with Words/Phrases/Captions, Comprehension Questions, Dictatio. If not used during the Scaffolded Oral Review, Retell and Q&A Game activities would also work well here.

Formative Assessment
5 minutes

Yup, its time to assess the students. Make it easy, quick, and positive for the students. Oh, and not a headache for the teacher. Quick Quizzes, Unit MGMT Packet (if not utilized elsewhere), Exit Slips, Whiteboard Responses/Comprehension Checks, Rubric Self-Evaluations, etc.



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